Area Corporation Steps Up to Save Summer ProgramPublished 1:25am Friday, June 28, 2013
By SARAH HODGES
Beaufort County Schools
For the past three years, S.W. Snowden Elementary School has been able to offer its students the summer version of their SPLASH Program. SPLASH – Snowden Provides After School Hours – is a 21st Century Community Learning Center Program that is offered during the school year. This program serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade at the Aurora school.
Students receive help with homework, receive tutoring and remediation and exposure to cultural enrichment activities. The initiative works with community programs like the Hazel Guildford Memorial Library, Fossil Museum and the Eco Lodge in Blounts Creek. SPLASH field trips focus on science and historical sites in North Carolina.
Monies for this federally funded program were greatly decreased for the upcoming school year, forcing the school to completely cut out the summer program. This was devastating news to school and program staff. With the rural and somewhat isolated location of Aurora, activity options for S.W. Snowden students are often very limited.
Officials from Potash Corporation in Aurora were made aware of the funding dilemma and stepped up to help save a portion of the summer for students in their town. “We’re excited that these students will have a fun, structured opportunity to continue learning this summer,” explained Ray McKeithan, manager – Public Affairs for Potash Corporation Aurora. “It’s a privilege to support the program and to see the genuine excitement in these kids’ faces.”
On Thursday, May 16, Potash officials presented a $15,000 check to the SPLASH program to run a summer camp in July for students in kindergarten through sixth grades. The camp will focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – or STEM curriculum – and feature the Potash curriculum called Nutrients for Life.
“The Nutrients for Life curriculum will explain how important phosphate is in soil nutrition and in feeding the world,” McKeithan said. “It’s an excellent educational resource to show, in a hands-on way, how we’re helping feed the world, right here in Aurora.”
Bettie Davis, program director for SPLASH since 2010, has seen the growth and change for the better in the students who have regularly participated in the Summer SPLASH and the afterschool program. “This program provides opportunities and experiences that these children would likely not have had if not for the grant. We are so thankful to Potash Corporation of Aurora for providing funding for us to be able to continue to provide quality summer programming for our students,” she said. Melissa Dana, principal of S.W. Snowden Elementary School, echoed the sentiments of everyone in the school family.
“The Summer SPLASH program allows the students to have a variety of experiences that they may not otherwise have an opportunity to participate in,” Dana said. “I’m so grateful that Potash saw the need and stepped in to help us to continue to offer this program to our students.”
McKeithan added, “We’re proud to partner with them in STEM education and a constructive learning opportunity that wouldn’t have been available otherwise.”
Jada Sheppard, a student at S.W. Snowden Elementary School and SPLASH participant, summed up the response of the students after learning of the gift. “I love to go to Summer SPLASH,” she said. “I thank everyone who is a part of giving us the check.”